24 Things to Make a Dog Happy

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how to make a dog happy

As dog owners, there’s nothing we love more than our dogs. They keep us company, make us smile, and they’re so darn cute!

But dog ownership isn’t just about us—it’s about the dog too! And dogs make us happy, so it makes sense we want to make our dogs happy too.

But how exactly do we do that?

If you’re wondering whether you’re making your dog happy, or you’re looking for some new things to try, here are 24 things that will make your dog one happy camper!

1. Take Your Dog on Regular Long Walks

Dogs LOVE walks!

You probably know this already. Every time you grab the leash, your dog probably gets super excited, jumping all over the place.

Dogs are naturally active animals, and love getting exercise. Plus, there’s so much to sniff outside! So, obviously, taking him for a walk is a great way to make him happy. But if you want to make him even happier, take him for long walks on a regular basis.

Dogs love being outside and going on long walks
Dogs love being outside and going on long walks

Does your dog have issues with the people or dogs you might meet outside? Then you should check out my article on how to walk a reactive dog to make this a safe experience for everyone.

2. Play Tug of War

Playing with your dog is another really good way to make him happy. Some dogs prefer different games, but tug of war is a classic.

Tug of war is a healthy outlet for a dog’s natural predatory instinct. Playing a game like this also helps you and your dog bond, which makes you both even happier.

3. Organize a Playdate with Another Dog

Who doesn’t love meeting up with friends? It’s nice to see old pals, spend some time together, and catch up.

Well, the same is true for your dog! If you have any friends with dogs, why not organize a playdate? That will make both dogs happy!

Having a playdate is super fun for you and your dog
Having a playdate is super fun for you and your dog

4. Hide Treats

Hiding treats around the house is a great way for your dog to find fun surprises. It also gets his brain working! And mental stimulation is super important for dogs.

So hide some treats around the house and tell your dog to go find them. You’ll love how cute he looks as he tracks them down, and how excited and happy he gets when he finds them!

5. Give Him Things to Chew

Dogs use their mouths a lot. They use them to eat, to pick things up, and to chew on things. Chewing on things actually releases serotonin in your dog’s brain. This is a hormone that makes him feel good.

Of course, you want him to chew on things you approve of. And that probably doesn’t include your furniture or clothes! So invest in some chewies or good toys for your dog to gnaw on instead.

Licking and chewing releases serotonin, which is also called the happiness hormone
Licking and chewing releases serotonin, which is also called the happiness hormone

6. Have a Regular Routine

Dogs thrive when they have a routine. Not knowing what to expect and when can make your dog anxious, which can lead to problems like separation anxiety.

If you have a routine in place, your dog will have a much better handle on the world around him. He’ll know when it’s time to eat, when it’s time to sleep, and when it’s time to play! If you don’t have a routine yet, start building one.

You might want to begin by planning your mornings before work. You’ll be surprised by how much more relaxed your dog will be!

Download my free puppy schedule planner to plan and track your dog’s day!

Get your free puppy schedule planner

7. Play Hide and Seek

This is another fantastic game to play with your dog. It’s also a really great one for bonding.

To play hide and seek with your dog, get him to sit and stay in one room. Then, go to another and hide somewhere. Once you’ve found your hiding place, call your dog to come find you.

One of the things that makes this game so great is that it’s super fun for you as well. Watching your dog try to track you down is so cute. And once he finds you, he’ll be so excited as you celebrate!

Here are a few funny examples:

8. Take Your Dog on a Hike

You know how much your dog loves walks, but what about hikes? Hikes are great ways for you and your dog to explore a new place and get some exercise.

Taking your dog on a hike does take some planning. For instance, you might be wondering how far a dog can hike in a day? It’s probably longer than you think!

Hiking off leash with your dog is a possibility too. If you’d like to try taking your dog off leash on a hike, check out this article “Hiking with a dog off leash – 10 tips to make it work.”

I love taking Baloo on hikes, he always has the time of his life
I love taking Baloo on hikes, he always has the time of his life!

9. Go Camping with Your Dog

If you’ve been hiking with your dog and you’re ready to try taking it a step further, why not give camping a shot?

Camping does require some preparation beforehand. Here is how to go camping with a dog and have the best time ever!

You’ll also want to check out these 12 tips and hacks for tent camping with a dog.

And don’t forget to read up on taking dogs camping for the first time!

We went on a camping trip with a camper van this summer. Baloo loved his cozy spot in his dog backpack
We went on a camping trip with a camper van this summer. Baloo loved his cozy spot in his dog backpack

10. Give Your Dog a Massage

Massaging your dog is a great way to help him relax, which will of course make him happy! This article has some great massages you can give your dog, depending on the situation.

Here’s a video example:

11. Fill a Kong Toy with Peanut Butter and Freeze It

We know how much dogs love chewing things. But if you really want to give him a special treat (and keep him busy for a while), then filling up a Kong toy with peanut butter and freezing it is a great way.

You’ll get the serotonin flowing, and since it’s frozen it will last a long time!

Giving your dog a frozen Kong toy will keep him occupied and satisfied for a while
Giving your dog a frozen Kong toy will keep him occupied and satisfied for a long while

12. Teach Him a New Trick

Get your pup’s brain working by teaching him a cool new trick. It’ll give him a lot of mental stimulation, and you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with how smart your dog is.

I’ve put a few videos of tricks on YouTube that you can easily teach your dog. The experience will be super rewarding for both of you!

BrainTraining4Dogs is another great option for helping your dog learn something new and help him be the best-behaved dog he can be.

Field Dogs 300 x 600

13. Let Him Sniff on Walks

Your dog’s nose is super sensitive! He can pick up on all the little nuances in every scent he comes across.

While it may seem annoying to you when you’re out for a walk that your dog has to stop and sniff everything, for him it’s different. He’s inspecting the world, and learning a lot of information when he sniffs.

It’s also a good way to get his brain going, and dogs love being active and thinking hard. So next time you’re out for a walk, let your dog sniff to his heart’s content!

Letting your dog sniff on walks will take his happiness to a new level!
Letting your dog sniff on walks will take his happiness to a new level!

14. Find New Routes for Your Daily Walks

While routine is important for dogs, that doesn’t mean you should never switch things up. Taking your dog on walks is a good way to keep both you and him active and healthy. But traveling the same route every single day can get boring.

Try finding a different walking path! Your dog will have so many new things to sniff, and you’ll have such a great time watching him explore and learn new things.

Walking new routes allows your dog to find new scents to explore
Walking new routes allows your dog to find new scents to explore

15. Cuddle with Your Dog

Not all dogs are cuddlers, but if yours is then make the time to get in plenty of serious cuddle sessions!

Cuddling releases feel-good hormones in both you and your dog. That’s why cuddling is such a nice activity. Plus, it’s a great thing to do on a cold winter’s day to keep warm. You’ll be strengthening the bond between you and your pup, and you’ll be making both you and your dog super happy while you do it!

If your dog loves cuddling, snuggling up on the couch is a great way to make him happy
If your dog loves cuddling, snuggling up on the couch is a great way to make him happy!

16. Take Him Swimming

If you live close to a body of water, bring your dog for a swim! Lots of dogs enjoy swimming, and it’s an especially good activity for dogs with joint issues. Joint pain can mean that a dog isn’t able to do high-impact activities like running, jumping, or other forms of playing.

Swimming takes away your dog’s weight, and so it’s super easy on joints! Plus, certain breeds, like Retrievers, are built for swimming. For them, going for a swim is a natural instinct! And watching a dog swim is one of the cutest things ever, so you win in this scenario too.

Leashes aren’t really practical for a swim out in the open, though. So before you go for a splash, you need to make sure your dog will come back when you call him!

17. Find a Dog Sport

If your dog is particularly active, signing him up for a dog sport is a really great idea. There are lots of dog sports you can get into, like disc or agility. These sports are also really great for building up the bond between you and your pooch.

Baloo and I do agility once or twice per week and he loves it so much! It’s both physical and mental stimulation which means he’s always super tired afterwards.

But he’s actually also really good at it and looks so cute when taking those big jumps!

how to make a dog happy
That’s not Baloo, but pretty much what he looks like during training 🙂

18. Get Him a Fluffy Dog Bed

You love being comfortable, don’t you? Well, so does your dog!

Getting him a comfortable place to lie down is a great way to make your pooch happy. Now, after a long day of walking, sniffing, and enjoying his new dog sports, he’ll be thrilled to plop down on his comfy bed. And you’ll love how cozy he looks! Not to mention how quickly his new fluffy bed helps him fall asleep.

I got Baloo something like this and he’s barely getting up from it 😉

A cozy dog bed—he’ll love it as much as you love your own after a long day!

19. Food Puzzles

Getting your dog’s brain working seriously is one of the best ways to make both of you happy. Dogs love being active, and keeping their mind busy stops them from creating their own entertainment and getting into trouble.

So get your dog a food puzzle and make him work for his food. His dinner is suddenly much more rewarding, and with his brain working hard he’ll be able to relax easier when he’s all done.

It also lets you get some work done if your pup has been keeping you busy!

20. Choose the Right Dog Food

Dogs love food! That’s probably no surprise, but you might be surprised by how many dog food options there are out there. It’s important to pick a high-quality dog food that works for both you and your pup. Not only will this keep your dog active and healthy, but a good, tasty meal will make him an even happier dog.

Don’t know what to feed your dog? Here are the best dog food delivery services for fresh cooked food.

 21. Give Lots of Belly Rubs

If your dog flops onto his back, settle down next to him for a good belly rub session.

Belly rubs feel good to dogs, and petting your dog helps strengthen your bond! You’ll be left with one happy dog, and an even stronger connection with him.

Belly rubs are great to make your dog happy
Belly rubs are great to make your dog happy

22. Be Calm Around Your Dog

Dogs are super good at picking up on our emotions. They are surprisingly intuitive, and can tell when we’re feeling stressed, angry, excited, or happy.

The best way to keep a dog happy is to stay calm around him. He’ll be able to tell from your behavior that there’s nothing for him to worry about, and that he’s totally safe where he is with you!

23. Give Your Dog a Job

It’s worth saying again that dogs naturally enjoy having things to do. Certain breeds, like terriers, were bred specifically to be able to perform jobs. If these breeds don’t get to work they can become bored, destructive, or even depressed.

But giving your dog a job doesn’t mean setting him up with a temp agency! It just means giving him purpose. So if your dog seems bored, try giving him a new job. You’ll be surprised how much it makes a difference!

You’ll find a few good ideas and step by step training guides in Braintraining4dogs.

Field Dogs 300 x 600

24. Observe Your Body Language

One of the ways dogs pick up on our emotions is through our body language. After all, body language is the primary way dogs communicate.

Do be mindful of your body language. And learn how to read your dog’s body language too, so that you can tell how he’s feeling as well!


Wanting your dog to be happy is a noble thing. But dogs are so different from us humans, it can be hard to figure out what to do that will make him happy?

By trying out these 24 things, you’ll make your dog happy. And who knows—maybe there’s something there you’ve never tried before and it’ll become your dog’s favorite thing in the world!

P.s.: Don’t forget to check out Braintraining4dogs if you want to take your dog training game to the next level. It offers a 60-day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.

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